Picture a patient with a medicine on the counter. She runs a fever and asks for your help. You tell her to drink the medicine but she refuses. Later she complains that the fever had not left her. What would you do?
I'd probably hit my forehead, in lieu of hitting the back of her head.
This is probably how Jesus reacts each time I attend mass and do not pay attention to the medicine and cure before me.
One day, a friend asked for my prayer. And I texted her to offer her mass intentions for this petition as I include her in my own mass.
Later, the Inner Voice prompted me to add details on how to make this mass offering for her intentions.
Surprised overtook me because I had not done it in this complete manner. Usually, I would offer my intentions whenever I'd remember it in any of the parts of the Mass.
Realization hit me that instant.
Although I may have been taking the medicine, I have not been taking it in its prescribed dose.
So here I outline the Lord's inspiration on how to offer our petitions and prayer intentions at Mass:
• Offer your intention before the mass starts.
• During the Prayers of the Faithful, lift up your intention again.
• During the consecration, when the priest raises the cup, say "I immerse (mention the person's name) in your blood o Jesus. Cleanse him/her and heal him/her from all his/her diseases. Send her the person whom You will use as Your channel of healing." (Note: Most prayer intentions would fall under any of the categories of healing from physical, mental, emotional, social, financial, intellectual, or inspirational sickness)
The mass is the highest form of prayer for us Catholics because we believe in the mystery of the transubstantiation whereby Jesus is offered as the unblemished sacrificial Lamb of God in the form of bread turned into His flesh and wine turned into His blood. This is the atonement most acceptable to God the Father in the spirit of the Mosaic Law.
It is our medicine; the cure to our infirmities.
Yet we often approach it with unbelieving hearts and distracted spirits. We fail to use all the opportunities it provides to aid us in our pilgrim journey on earth.
Today, when I heard Mass, I offered my petition as the Lord laid out above.
While in line for Communion, He inspired me to pray for my intentions and add:
"Lord, as I approach You in Communion, once more I lift my heart's intentions to Your Most Sacred Heart that my will may be united with Yours so that my heart's desires may become Yours as Yours become mine."
It was then that I realized that during the Mass, through the Scriptural readings, responsorial psalm, and homily, God already makes His will known, His answer to the prayer intentions revealed if only I care to listen.
Sometimes, it's an affirmation, a yes; on other times, it a no and it comes with an admonition or rebuke; and still on other times, it's a not yet, or wait. And when He is silent, that's when I learn that the intention could be in accordance with His will, but needs to be purified in motive (in my part or the one who asked for my prayer).
I marvel at the completeness of the sacrifice of the Mass. It's I, who am incomplete and lacking in faith.
The medicine is there, and although I am taking it, I'm not fully compliant to the prescription of intake.
Lord, open my eyes to the great mystery behind the sacrifice of the Eucharist that it may cure me and the people You have entrusted to my intercessory care.
Have you said something in a habitual and automated fashion, only to realize later on how stupid you must have sounded?
It happened to me on several occasions and it almost happened again the other day, when I returned the keys to the rental car counter and the white-haired man said, "Thank you and have a safe flight!"
"I almost blurted out, 'You, too!' and realized you're not flying anywhere!" I said and laughed.
The old man laughed and said, "Who knows, I may just jump in to the next plane."
I bet that was not the first time it happened to him. On my ride to the airport terminal, I pondered on the ailment of automaticity. The things that I say or do everyday become so habitual, sometimes I do it without much thought on why I'm doing it. My body get so immersed into the routine and motion, my heart and mind are no longer in it.
"Have a good one," someone would say, and by instinct I'd reply, "You, too!"
"How you doin'?" someone would ask, and leave even before you'd get to answer.
Time in, time out, and it's just another day at work.
This is probably the reason why some work no longer fulfill the employees or why some companies lose touch with their customers' needs.
Even in my prayer life, I had to resist automaticity. When the Our Father, the rosary or the daily mass had become a routine, my body disintegrates from my heart and mind.
I had to exert an effort each time to recollect my senses and bring myself into the Holy Presence of God so He comes close to me and becomes personal. Only then does the door of my heart open to welcome Him; His Words come alive and able to touch me.
I realize that my daily routines also need such mindfulness so I don't fall into automaticity with how I deal with my spouse, children, and people I come in contact with everyday.
No wonder the "how's school?" routine question gets a routine "so-so" shrug answer. Parents nowadays seemed too busy to look into their children's eyes when they speak.
Automaticity. Personal touch. These two should not fall at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Automatic personal touch, how about that?
When I got to the airport terminal and hopped down, the driver said, "Take care and have a safe flight."
This time I had more presence of mind to say, "You have a great day!"
When talking to someone, take the time to look him or her in the eye and give all your attention to the person. That is love at its simplest form.
Are you in a tight and oppressive predicament right now? Is there something challenging and overwhelming your faith?
Did you know you can ward off the attack of the enemy with a sword that is the Word of God?
Say this today and claim it for yourself:
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
You ask, "How?"
“I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.”
Do not allow a white lie or a slight amount of deceit to infect your life. You are to live a pure life. Any small trace of the enemy will be like a tooth decay that will eventually grow big. Do not think something small will be insignificant. A bad tree will bear bad fruit. And it will perpetuate unless you cut it down. Make your heart pure and good, so it will constantly bear good fruit.”
"Wouldn't I suffer from scrupulosity, my Lord?" I asked, and He answered me.
People don't die from scrupulosity, but it can get annoying to the people around you. Suffer the scrupulosity like it would be the purifying fire burning your imperfections.
Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed shall you be and favored.
Although I had not willed what you did, but because you asked for my blessing, I shall bless it, but I will bless the work that I have willed for you more than this. And I keep My promises.
But see that you tell no one. Some things need to be kept hidden until you've done what is required and then you can tell people so that there is proof for the miracle and your testimony becomes reliable, trustworthy and credible.
My Lord, grant me the grace to do what I need to do to fulfill Your will. Thank You for blessing even those endeavors that sprung from my own will and initiatives. Purify my heart so that no trace of impurity will serve as a barrier from my hearing Your voice and Your will and I could obey You perfectly because the path You have prepared for me is a path of blessing and leads to an abundant and prosperous life. Anoint me that what I do and say will reverse my misfortune and make it work out in my favor. This I pray, in Your Name Jesus with the intercession of Mama Mary and all the saints and angels, Amen.